Australian Folk Songs

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The Rambling Soldier (1907)
An Old Ballad

I am a soldier blithe and gay,
That has rambled for promotion;
I've laid the French and Spaniards low;
Some miles I've crossed the ocean;
I have travelled England, Ireland too.
I have traversed bonny Scotland;
I have courted maidens not a few--
I'm a roving, rambling soldier.

When I was young and in my prime,
Twelve rears I was recruiting,
Thro' England, Ireland, and Scotland too.
Wherever it was suiting;
I led a gay and splendid life.
With many a sweetheart, but never a wife,
And seldom was there any strife,
With the roving, rambling soldier.

In Woolwich town I courted Jane,
Her sister and her mother
(I mean that they, when I was there,
Were jealous of each other) :
Our orders came I had to start,
I left poor Jane with a broken heart.
Then straight to Colch'ster did depart:--
The gay and rambling soldier.

And now the wars are at an end,
I'm not ashamed to mention,
The King lias given me my discharge,
And granted me a pension;
No doubt the lasses will me blame,
But me they never once can shame,
And if vou want to know my name
'Tis Bill, the Rambling Soldier.


From the Adelaide newspaper the Observer 28 Sep 1907 p. 55.

[ Roud 518 ; G/D 7:1477 ; Ballad Index ShH43 ; Bodleian Roud 518 ; Wiltshire Roud 518 ; trad.]
Ralph Vaughan Williams recorded Peter Verral of Monks Gate, Horsham, Sussex, singing The Rambling Sailor on May 2, 1907.


australian traditional songs . . . a selection by mark gregory